On This Day: Barnsley Promoted!
Fourteen years ago today a packed out Oakwell witnessed a miracle. Little old Barnsley secured promotion to English Football's top league with a 2-0 win over struggling Yorkshire neighbours Bradford City.
Attendances had gently crept up all season as belief began to rise that Barnsley could actually make it this time having come close a couple of years back, finishing in 6th place.
Over 18,000 spectators filled Oakwell on April 26th 1997, knowing that a win could secure promotion to the top flight for the first time in the club's history.
With Mark McGhee's Wolves side breathing down Barnsley's neck in the race for second place, the pressure was on Danny Wilson's team to get the right result.
It was the perfect start for Barnsley who forged a lead in the 20th minute when Paul Wilkinson glanced in a header at the home end.
A nervous 70 minutes followed, as Bradford City pressed Barnsley for an equaliser knowing that they could end up leaving Division 1 the other way if they didn't pick up a result in their final two matches. They even struck the inside of the Barnsley post, sending every Reds fan's heart into their mouths.
Injury time approached with score still at 1-0 to Barnsley and as nerves jangled and fans called for the final whistle, Clint Marcelle, who had only been on the pitch for nine minutes, collected a pass from Neil Redfearn, danced and twisted his way across the edge of the Bradford City box and found a gap to shoot through...
...The roar remains unmatched at Oakwell. Strangers hugged and held hands. Danny Wilson couldn't stop smiling. The match went on for a couple more minutes but the Barnsley players minds were awash with the joy eminating from the stands. When the final whistle went there was a mass pitch invasion as the fans congregated on the Oakwell pitch to celebrate with the team.
D. Watson, N. Eaden, N. Thompson, D. Sheridan, A. Moses, A. De Zeeuw, J. Hendrie, N. Redfearn, P. Wilkinson, A. Liddell (P. Shirtliff, 63), M. Bullock (C. Marcelle, 78)
Were you one of the other 18,000 in Oakwell on that day? Or one of the dozens of people who couldn't get a ticket but were let in through the huge gates between the Ponty End and the West Stand just in time to see the second goal? Share your memories in the comments.